When There Are No Answers

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” — Zora Neale Hurston

It really is a little frustrating to consider how long it’s taking to get back into my groove.  I’m still crazy tired,  remain in stitches (though I’m not laughing), swollen, sore and without the energy to even consider where my get-up-and-go has relocated.  I know it hasn’t even been a week.  I’m petulant.  I don’t care.  This place I’m sitting in feels like really thick  pea soup and I don’t even like pea soup.  At about this point in my kvetching  I begin to talk to myself (needless to say the tone is harsh and very imperious – you don’t argue with a voice like that).  In effect she says, “Will you just knock it the hell off?  So what?  You’re uncomfortable?  Get in line and in the interim, puleeze shut up.”  And I do.

In the span of time that I have assumed the position of a lump, so much has been happening around me that perhaps my absence of movement is by universal design.  Someone’s heart is aching with the uncertainty that comes with self-doubt and fear of loss;  another prepares for a familial re-arrangement that will demand her energy and facility with the emotional bob-and-weave.  One friend works to rebuild her family’s factory post-Sandy, ending each day more exhausted and spent than the day before,  knowing full well that tomorrow the day begins again.  And another story is beginning as an amazing soul works to establish herself in a new position which combines her tremendous talent with her equally impressive sense of aesthetic.  I see a person I care about being forced to consider new employment for reasons which make an ethical retired HR exec break out in hives.  No one is curled up on the couch right now, covered up in the deliciously soft and worn blanket with the embroidered words “just be”.

My friends are caught in various stages of the years that pose the queries.  Some perhaps are closer to answers than others.  And if there is one thing that we all share it is the need to embrace the times when we just don’t know, when the answers are elusive (perhaps because we’re asking the wrong questions),  and the only option available is to keep asking.  Keep being uncomfortable.  Wonder, doubt, assert, withdraw, huddle, hide – and ask.  Now is not the time to stop asking, for closure without answers that feel good in your skin,  is no closure at all.  Learning to love the questions is a little like learning to love being out of balance.  Out of balance means that you can grab for something to keep you from falling without having to hold onto it forever.  Out of balance means that you see the world with the perception needed to focus on one thing – and perhaps seeing it with the most exquisite clarity.  Out of balance means that you are exercising the emotional muscles that have to be toned to keep you upright, albeit shakily.  Love the  questions as much as you seek the answers.  They must be posed – this is their time.

I too am asking questions all the time — from the mundane (why can’t they just find out what is taking up real estate in my jaw) to the more complicated (what is my next dance step?  what music feels right?  what am I waiting for?).  This is the time and I am not shying away from the exercise.  Yes, it makes my heart beat faster, tears fall with a little less censorship and sometimes I’m sure that I am jumping out of my skin.  And then I focus on an enormous blue jay holding a twig of crepe myrtle in its mouth, knowing with certainty he’s off to build a future.  Aren’t we all?

[youtube.com/watch?v=EcH6rHAH43w]

59 thoughts on “When There Are No Answers

    • Ah Julie, compared to my friends, I am really just going through a blip in time, and I know that (even if I am being a little snarky about it)…I’m really ok..and sending love right back to you!

  1. On your off days, you are better and stronger than most of us. Period.

    “Some perhaps are closer to answers than others. And if there is one thing that we all share it is the need to embrace the times when we just don’t know, when the answers are elusive (perhaps because we’re asking the wrong questions), and the only option available is to keep asking. Keep being uncomfortable.”

    Love the music btw.

  2. I find that I am hyper sensitive to the troubles of others. I absorb them, feel them and sometimes have them drain me. It could be a combination of everything for you and your body is saying “Rest up now Mimi you’re going to need the energy.” Be Well!

  3. Ahhh, my dear, even in your seeking and unsettled state, you are a beacon to the rest of us. Years ago I read a book called “Transitions,” by (ironically enough) a man named William Bridges, and he talked about the need, at times, to stay in that uncomfortable “in-between” place until you could sort things out, rather than just rushing to the next “safe harbor,” where things may be unhappy or dysfunctional, but nevertheless familiar (better the devil you know and all…). That has always stuck with me, and when I find myself in an uncomfortable, changing period, I try to hang on to that thought and remind myself that growth can be scary and uncomfortable, but also freeing.

    “Not in his goals but in his transitions is man great”
     Ralph Waldo Emerson

    …to the moon…xoxo

  4. To be cognizant of the discomfort of being in the middle is quite astute. To recognize that at any given time, we’re all going through stuff, some more challenging then others, shows uncluttered vision. To confront, accept and keep moving forward displays a quiet inner strength. You are an excellent role model for so many of us. You go Mimi, but always know there are so many arms and hearts out here to catch you, should you stumble.vv

    • I’m beginning to think you need to write more sweetie – you’re good!!! And you’re very kind..we’re all in the middle of something aren’t we? And what greater kindness can we extend than to be there? Love you sweetie, m

  5. To keep questioning is to keep taking the risk into the unknown. It is a catalyst for change and growth and you do both with a keen eye, compassionate soul and grace. Wouldn’t it be nice to be allowed some complacency and less troubles at this time in our lives? Why certainly yes – at least just for a little while. The eye on the journey, the next challenge isn’t as clear as it once was. Predicting what’s around the bend and rising to meet it with courage and a visage that says “dont’ mess with me” is longer an easy task. However, we all will turn the corner; maybe not as quickly as we’d like. Some may even have to take a few steps back to what was a long time ago. Adjust. Punt. Buy a new rule book? I don’t know for sure. Here’s what I do know. With you in pain, I am sore. With you uncertain, I, too question the very foundation upon which I’ve built the true me, that you know so well. But I am here to offer my shoulder upon which you can rest your head, my arms to hold you and my words to soothe your hurt. Distractions are good so as long as you keep driving the truck down the highway – keeping the pain meds to a minimum (tho’ should you need me to post bail, I’ll be there) – asking the questions, sharing your heart, wondering if there are answers that make sense; I am comforted that we are all in this together. That we continue to evolve. That pain and heartache and joy and excitement are part of the process. Sometimes quiet is just what one needs to look around and assess one’s luck at this game of life. Luck that is really the result of many years of hard work and sacrifice. I know. On day 20 of this month of Thanksgiving, as on days 1 – 30 actually, when I recognize the blessings in my life, your friendship, your shoulder, your encouragement, your ability to provide virtual CPR, and your love make my cup runneth over and I know the true meaning of gratitude. When this passes, and it will, – my dearest friend – we still have “Magic to Do” – you promised 🙂 Love to the entire ” mimijk”clan and respective spouses, significant others, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews and cousins. To the moon and back. Happy Thanksgiving. xoxoxoxoxo

    • And this post was meant more to be a virtual hug to you and others who are dealing with so many questions right now!! I know that I’m in flux, but I swear Jo, I’m ok with it (pain meds not entering into this part of the equation I promise). We keep moving, sometimes into far less comfortable places than others – and that’s when we count on the knowledge that it’s all part of the ebb and the flow of which we cannot choose. We have magic to do and we will – with appreciation and love and delight as we are prone to do. I wish you and Ben and Jenna, your family and friends the happiest of Turkey days – full of laughter and love and full tummies..love you to the moon, m

  6. Mimi,
    I’m glad you’re allowing yourself the space and time to heal and listening to your body. This wild ride we call “life” sometimes requires that of us and you’re doing a great job of surrendering to the healing. Yeah, it also makes us more compassionate for others (not that you’re not incredibly compassionate). May your holiday be restful, peaceful and full of blessings.
    Cathy

    • Happy Holidays Cathy…I hope you have a feast of love and laughter, family and friendship, deliciousness and delight. I’m well on my way I’m sure – and will feel all the better each day..xox

  7. Mimi, these are the times when words aren’t adequate. I’d love to deliver a big bowl of soup and tell you everything was going to be alright. I can only imagine that if that were possible you’d have a line around your house with people that would like to do the same. Feel better, my friend.

  8. I am not even sure where to start, you have such a gift, which is a beautiful blend of so many wonderful qualities – your heart, your wisdom, your perspective that all comes out like a perfect wine made of many grapes in your writing. With your words, you wrapped me up in that soft blanket of yours …

    You – in the midst of healing, pain, uncertainty, bestowing your friends with your love and insight which is palpable – are amazing. And it’s my hope that all that you give comes straight back to you a hundred fold. I can’t imagine my world without you. xoxo b

    • BonBon…I get so much back – far more than I could ever return in kind. Please don’t ever try to imagine the world without our friendship in it – there’s no need to ever go there. You are onto such amazing wondrous chapters and just the thought makes me grin from ear to ear…love you..m

  9. Mimi-love you so much and you have been in my thoughts and prayers. You heal countless people every day with your wisdom, joy and amazing ability to put things in perspective. I hope the karma truck is in your driveway right now bringing back to you even a fraction of what you give to the rest of us. I can’t say I know exactly how you feel, but I have a pretty good idea of the pain you try and talk yourself out of, the disconnect from routine, and endless hours of not knowing what to do with yourself. Let yourself be, you deserve it. Hoping you start feeling much better very soon. XOXOXO

    • I get so much from so many people Jill – I’m not really sure what the heck I’m giving in return – but boy I feel beyond blessed with great karma. giving myself a break? Ah my friend, that’s another issue entirely (as you well know)..I’m working on it though..feeling better everyday..xoxo

  10. So sorry to hear you’ve been in for surgery, Mimi. I hope you find some time to relax over this long weekend, and will soon be back to spinning in your usual groove. Best, John

    • Hi John! What a welcome and pleasant surprise! Thank you for your good thoughts and wishes..I am definitely on the mend and can feel my groove thing beginning to awake. I hope you are well and I send my best to you, Marsha and the children.

  11. I think that when you have always been a ‘doer’ and someone that others lean on; it is difficult to allow yourself the self-indulgence of just sitting back with time to heal, to get through.
    Take it easy, and do not be too hard on yourself.
    Thinking of you 🙂

    • You’ve got me pegged…and you’re right – it’s the ‘not doing’ that drives me crazier than anything else. But I also know that things are definitely looking up, because I’m beginning to feel like getting into a little mischief (moi? :-))…Sending you tons of hugs, m

  12. It sounds like you are dealing with an unusual ailment In addition to healing. An ailment without definition, leaves you in a wait and see zone, which is easier to deal with in trivial matters. So now you ponder not only the usual queries, but with the distraction of a health issue. As we all know, our health is all that matters. It took me a long time to fully understand what that meant.
    Like you said, it’s only been a little over a week. It will take time to feel back in balance. I hope that you feel good knowing that your message was thought provoking and so meaningful. Helping all of us who may find ourselves thinking and going through the same thing.
    I can say one thing for sure, 2012 has been a turbulent year in the world and in the lives of many I know, who have experienced loss of loved ones and/or suffered bad health issues. Supporting each other is the what gets us through the very tough times. Looking forward to better things ahead. We have so much to be grateful for tomorrow. I hope that you will be able to enjoy a thanksgiving meal with your family.
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Fran

    • Hi Fran, I hope you enjoy a love-filled day and revel in the warmth around you. It certainly has been a difficult year for so many, and by comparison I feel that my roll in the barrel is pretty darn easy. It will pass – it is passing every day. And ultimately it is the desire to look ahead that drives our hope and smiles and the promise of possibility which we all need. I am heartened to think that you found the post thought-provoking and on point. You’re right – that makes me happy. As you do every time you send me your thoughts. Hugs, m

  13. Thank you, Mimi. Thank you for being in my life and making it better even when you are feeling as you did when you wrote this post. You give so much of yourself to others with your words. It must be an especially amazing blessing for those who know you in the physcial world. I trust they know and appreciate the great gifts you give to them by being in their lives and that they remind you of same when you forget.

    Russ

  14. Didn’t realize that I had clicked a link back to a post in November. So first I hope that the physical issues have worked themselves out.

    As far as questions and answers, one thing I’ve learned is that in my early sixties, I’m getting answers to questions I asked in my twenties. I’ve been trying to save my children the trouble – they’re in their twenties now – but they’re not interested in my answers, they’re interested in their own.

    So much for the wisdom of experience… 🙂

    – J.

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